updated 07:00 pm EDT, Wed September 3, 2014
Cantor Fitzgerald, Piper Jaffray push expections to $120 and beyond
The long-awaited but finally-approaching arrival of larger-screen iPhone models and Apple's probable entries into health, home automation and mobile payments have some Wall Street analysts believing Apple's oft-repeated mantra that its forthcoming product and services pipeline is the strongest the company has had in years, if not ever. In new notes to clients, both Cantor Fitzgerald and Piper Jaffray have raised targets for AAPL to new all-time highs.
The timing of the expected announcements, starting with the September 9 media event in Cupertino, promises another record-breaking holiday season for the Apple. Seven years after the iPhone debuted, the company continues to have the top-selling brand of smartphone worldwide, the most popular tablet, the leading brand of notebook and the most popular set-top box. It is also -- by far -- the most profitable company at selling such devices, even in markets where it is not the leader (such as desktop PCs).
Apple's influence on the rest of the industry is unparalleled, and analyst Brian White of Cantor predicts a "fab fall" of new products and software for the season. While analysts are primarily fixated on the iPhone 6, also expected are the arrivals of new iPad models, updates to OS X and iOS that promise interesting new features, the blossoming of iCloud services and potential entries into completely new markets, such as wearables and mobile payments.
Even products that won't ship until early 2015, or services that will only just begin growing in the short-term, have analysts seeing major longer-term potential. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster has raised his target price for AAPL to $120 by this time next year, notes AppleInsider, saying that the company's reach outside hardware is expanding thanks to initiatives like HomeKit, HealthKit and a possible maturation of the Passbook, iBeacon and mobile payments arenas -- to say nothing of the company's mobile device partnership with IBM and its potential to grow enterprise use of Apple's products.
White believes that the most promising of the new devices, the iWatch, may not be available until after the end of the year, but remains bullish on it. "In our view, this allows Apple to create a tremendous amount of free marketing buzz ahead of availability and the lag does not eat into existing sales," he said. White would, however, be even happier if limited supplies of the health and fitness device could be available late in the holiday season.
He is particularly hopeful for a 5.5-inch model iPhone 6 to be available during the next quarter, noting that the larger device could help Apple gain marketshare in China and Japan, and also boost the company's fortunes by luring Android users into switching. The ability of rivals to offer "phablet" devices has proven to be a significant reason why some buyers go with Android, even if they would prefer to buy into Apple's ecosystem. A recent survey suggested that more than a third of Android buyers would consider switching to iOS if Apple offered larger displays in its phones.
White has raised Cantor Fitzgerald's target for AAPL to $123 on the strength of the forthcoming lineup and the likelihood that the iPhone and iPad will again dominate holiday gift buying in the electronics field in ways that no other individual brand has been able to match.